- Using Handmade
Jay Dion Heath Clay Studio SF Production Manager will be our host as we tour around Heath Ceramics!
Monday Jay will do a live-stream tour around the Heath Sausalito dinnerware facility showing us an overview of how ceramics are created in an industrial facility. We will then get to meet Daniel Vuono, Dinnerware Production Manager, for a quick Q:A about the ceramics facility. Monday, October 8 - 1-1:30pm EST
Jay will join us again in another live-stream tour of the Heath San Francisco Tile Factory. We will get a chance to hear from Joe Farnham, Tile Production Manager. Monday, October 8 - 1:30-2pm EST
Then we will head up to the Heath Clay Studio to see their throwing facilities and hear more about the roles of Jay Dion and Jeff Perkins.
Monday, October 8, 2-2:30pm EST
Join us on the Heath Ceramics Facebook page for their live streams!
Heath Ceramics was founded in 1948 by husband and wife team, Edith and Brian Heath. When the duo moved from
Chicago to San Francisco in the early 1940s, Edith—who’d had little formal training in the area—began making
ceramics. In 1944, she held a one-woman exhibition at the Legion of Honor, where her work was noticed by Gump's,
a respected design store in San Francisco. Gump's commissioned Edith to create an exclusive dinnerware collection
for them, and when more retail orders started coming in, the couple officially founded Heath Ceramics in San
Francisco, California in 1948, with Edith focusing on the product side and Brian on the manufacturing and operations.
In 1959, their business expanded into the Sausalito factory which still houses our dinnerware manufacturing today.
The building was designed in collaboration with the Heaths and Marquis + Stoller Architects. In the late 1960s, Heath
began exploring tile and its function as a building material. The exterior of City Hall in Hayward, California and the
Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena, CA, both had exteriors clad in Heath tile; the latter earned Edith the distinction
of being the first non-architect to win the prestigious AIA Industrial Arts Medal.
Raised in the depression, Edith was frugal, creative, tough, and resourceful, truths that permeated every aspect of
the business, and still do, today. Edith designed her pieces for a single kiln-firing, at a lower-than-normal temperature,
thus saving energy while producing a remarkably durable product. Her work led to advances in clay and glaze
development, securing Heath a unique place in ceramic history, along with design awards including the Industrial Arts
Award from the American Institute of Architects. Many of Edith’s original pieces are a part of the permanent
collections of museums such as MOMA and LACMA.
While all this creative work was going on, Brian took control of the business, made it all work, and kept things going.What began as a small-scale pottery has evolved into a pure and simple way of life and business that shares one
creative heart and many forms of expression. Today, Heath is an American maker of goods for your home — led by
husband and wife, Robin Petravic and Cathy Bailey— shaping the relationship we have to the things we own, and
the way we come to own them.
Robin and Cathy's path to Heath ownership began in 2003 after a decade as design consultants with Nike, Motorola,
and many in between, Robin an engineer and Cathy an industrial designer.
Shortly after their move from San Francisco to Sausalito, while on a bike ride, they happened upon a funky
modern-era factory. They were struck by the pottery and the environment in which they were designed, made, and
haphazardly sold — a stark contrast from the design studios they had known.
The small, threadbare manufacturer encompassed all the elements missing from their world. It seemed obvious (to
them, at least) that two designers ought to run a manufacturing facility. After all, good designers must intimately
understand the process of making.
Recognizing the opportunity to design, make, and sell under the same roof, they purchased Heath Ceramics on
August 16, 2003. And the new era of Heath was born — design-led manufacturing and responsible business
practices, coexisting in harmony. Transparent and honest, with nothing to hide, and everything to celebrate — we
make products, in our community. In a human-scale factory, blending hand and machine. Human-scale means
we’re grounded and relatable, neither too big nor too small. It means we celebrate process, material, and the people
and places behind the products we make.